Advice from a rookie expediter

Updated Apr 17, 2012

I learned today the experiences of a rookie expediter team. Learned when Diane and I pulled into the Flying J truck stop in Tulsa, Okla., and the husband half of this husband-wife team greeted us and visited for a bit.

Diane and I woke up this morning at the TA truckstop in Oklahoma City. We were on our way from Arizona to Saint Louis, Mo., to better position ourselves for freight.

I wrote yesterday about the emotions I was experiencing as we found ourselves without much freight to haul. It was the same today as I began to drive. Much to my relief, Diane found a load on the Landstar load board while I drove. That is an uncommon event. Most loads there are for big rigs. Expedited freight is dispatched mostly by phone.

Diane called the agent, had the usual conversation about the details and booked the load. Finally! We have freight to haul again and, this time, it takes us to an area where freight is almost always good. Better still, the miles we now drive are no longer at our own expense. Being dispatched on a load now, the miles we drive are revenue generating.

A decision had to be made, however, before we took this load. We were faced with a classic bird in the hand vs. two in the bush situation. Do we proceed at our own expense to Saint Louis where there would be a chance for getting freight tomorrow that delivers on Friday, or do we agree now to known freight that picks up on Friday and delivers on Monday in a known good freight area? We went with the known freight.

Our rookie expediter friend, Don, turned out to be someone who attended the ExpeditersOnline workshop in Monroe, Mich., last year where Diane and I spoke. He and his wife joined us for breakfast the next morning and peppered us with questions. Now they are in the business.

It is one thing to share information and advice with people and answer their questions. It becomes very sobering when we are reminded that people are using what we say to make career decisions.

We listened with great interest as Don told us about the challenges and setbacks he and his wife had when they first started. With truck breakdowns, medical clearance issues and a death in the family, it has not been easy.

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Interested to hear what a rookie would say, I asked Don, what should new people coming into the business know? “Be prepared for the setbacks,” he said.

These two do not regret their decision to become expediters. Don said they love it out here, but they are looking forward to getting into a better groove. He said they have a great fleet owner who has been very helpful. With several bumps in the road behind them that will not repeat, they are looking forward to more up time and looking further forward to buying a truck of their own one day.

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